A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang by John Francis Guilmartin, John Keegan

By John Francis Guilmartin, John Keegan

On might 12, 1975, below weeks after the autumn of Saigon, Khmer Rouge naval forces seized the S.S. Mayaguez, an American box send, off the Cambodian coast within the Gulf of Siam. The fast army reaction ordered via President Gerald Ford used to be designed to recapture the Mayaguez, held at anchor off the island of Koh Tang, to disencumber her group, and to illustrate U.S. power and get to the bottom of within the speedy aftermath of America's such a lot humiliating defeat.Guilmartin, a former air rescue helicopter pilot stationed in Thailand, presents a different and compelling account of the Mayaguez–Koh Tang concern, laying off new mild at the politics, the strategies, the orders, the high-level selection makers, and the struggling with males entangled in a vital army motion that just about resulted in catastrophe for U.S. forces.". . . a super and particularly transparent tactical learn that provides some extent of departure for broader reflections at the nature of contingency and uncertainty in all army operations."--Foreign Affairs"This is an outstanding publication. . . [Guilmartin's] paintings transcends the occasions themselves, illustrating quite a few facets of guys in conflict. His insights and observations are compelling."--Journal of army History". . . written with the aptitude and pleasure of an event novel. Even those that comprehend the end result and the teachings of the Mayaguez incident will locate this e-book difficult to place down till finished."--Proceedings

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In practice it amounted to little more than orientation for the fighter pilots. During the mid-1960s, instructor pilots at the Rescue Combat Crew Training School had developed maneuvers that minimized exposure to hostile fire during pickups by using the g forces developed in a tight < previous page page_11 next page > < previous page page_12 next page > Page 12 turn to slow the aircraft. Called tactical approaches, these maneuvers were equally well suited to combat rescues and special operations insertions and extractions.

Reality departed sharply from this scenario. The ground security force marines and H-53s were not on the same ships, and marine CH53C/Ds, without external fuel tanks, lacked the fuel capacity to take off, load their troops, and make a round trip into Saigon. In consequence, two hours were required for ''cross-decking," to match marines with helicopters and top off fuel. This should have been accomplished before dawn, and in fact the crews were standing by in their cockpits at four o'clock. 69 From that point, operations there went remarkably smoothly, despite endemic confusion, enemy action, and adverse weather.

They cleared the LZ within minutes, and Eagle Pull was over. The helicopters had taken < previous page page_15 next page > < previous page page_16 next page > Page 16 out 287 evacuees plus the 360-man GSF without incident. S. firepower had been expended. If Eagle Pull was a model, by-the-numbers operation, Frequent Wind was anything but. The problem was partly one of scale, for the number of potential evacuees was immensely larger. S. forces off-guard in a way that the fall of Phnom Penh had not.

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